We know a few things about Tommy Lasorda.
Now we know something new about Tommy Lasorda: he has an active imagination.
Lasorda writes in his MLB blog that Robert F. Kennedy, on the day that he was assassinated, asked to have dinner with Lasorda and his wife.
Lasorda says he was scheduled to dine with Kennedy on June 4, 1968, the day Kennedy accepted the Democratic nomination for President. Before his dinner date, Lasorda says he went to watch Don Drysdale pitch for the Dodgers. He says he left the game early because his shoes were hurting his feet and when he got home he saw on TV that Kennedy had been shot.
The L.A. Times’ Opinion blog was first to point out the flaws in Tommy’s tale.
From Opinion LA:
1) Tommy Lasorda that year managed a team in … Ogden, Utah.
2) Why would the Next President of the United States single out a little-known minor league manager for a meet-and-greet on a day of some, you know, importance?
3) Would Tommy ever actually turn down a free meal, no matter how tight his shoes were that day?
Of course, after the LA Times pointed out the errors in Lasorda’s yarn, it was up to the rest of the blogosphere to point out the errors in the Opinion LA post, prompting the following correction:
* So yes, Drysdale did pitch that day, contrary to the original post. But it was a night game. Retrosheet, however, doesn’t list the starting time; if weeknight games started the same as now, it would have been 7:00 or 7:30 … which means Tommy would have been late for dinner in the best case. A 5:30 game, though, would have him out the door by 7:50….
* Kennedy was shot just after midnight. Tommy testifies that “When we got home, we turned on the TV and saw that Kennedy had been shot.” Keep in mind that he left the game early, because of “hurt feet.” Even assuming that the start time was 7:30, what was Tommy Lasorda doing between 9:30 and midnight?? Surely traffic wasn’t that bad in the summer of ’68, no matter how bad the hippies were.
* Yes, Tommy managed the Ogden Dodgers that year (you’ll want to stop at this point, and click on that link), but the season probably didn’t start until late June, giving Tommy access to the scene of the crime.
Obviuosly, this is a very complicated story. But it does seem unlikely that Lasorda ever had a dinner date with Robert Kennedy. As Wonkette points out, “There is no conceivable reason why the soon-to-be elected president accepting the Dem nomination in Los Angeles would also be asking to meet a rookie manager from Utah.”